Safety Archives - Starr Tours & Charters
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I Want to Be Alone… Really!

I Want to Be Alone… Really!

Did you ever want to go to the beach and no one wants to go with you because they don’t like the sand?  Did you ever want to go a flower show and you can’t find a companion who loves the greenery as much as you?  Did you ever want to take a trip near or far, but no one has the time to partner up with you?  Or, how about visiting some historic sites and no one you know has any interest in the Civil War.  Well, now you don’t have to keep wishing and hoping for that someone to make all of these adventures happen for you!  Traveling solo on a Starr bus tour is the perfect answer for the traveler who is leery about traveling without a partner.

 

Travel websites suggest that the number one fear of traveling alone is feeling lonely.  Nothing could be further from the truth when traveling on a Starr bus tour.  As an experienced Tour Director, I have seen complete strangers board our tour bus in the morning, and by our lunch stop many acquaintances have been made.  Dinnertime brings on new-found friends, and truly by the end of a one-day or multiple-day tour, passengers are exchanging contact information.  Our Travel Advisers can attest to the fact that many of our solo travelers have buddied up with people they have met on previous tours and have been booking trips together for years!  This phenomena gave rise to the Starr Reunion Cruises and Starr Birthday/Anniversary-themed tours where many of our passengers reconnect with their Starr friends.

 

Some hesitant solo travelers may be concerned about safety.  Traveling in a group setting such as with our bus tours has a built-in safety feature all its own.  Starr provides a great balance of being with the group for attractions and some meals, and then having free time to decide whether to pair up with someone on the tour or to go off on your own.  It truly is the best of both worlds.  With today’s technology, everyone is in touch— or not— all day long and wherever the road leads.  A solo traveler on our Cross Country by bus trip, who was recently widowed, was encouraged by her daughter to take the 26-day journey by herself.  Her daughter was truly surprised that her mom almost never called during the four weeks away because she was having such a good time! We have another solo traveler who had so much fun on last year’s Cross Country trip, that she’s going again this year!

 

Susan Barkowski, a frequent solo Starr traveler, recently shared these highlights about traveling alone.  “During one Starr group meal, I sat next to a couple in their 90’s who told me that they still enjoy walking and jogging together and that they can’t wait until they get their new Christmas picture taken in their jogging gear.  At another group meal, a fellow solo traveler was telling our whole table about his job at the Philadelphia International Airport and all of the rock stars and Hollywood celebrities he has met over the years.  Each Starr trip has been more than just the places I have traveled.  It has been the people I have met on the Starr bus that has made me think about what is truly important in life.  It gives you the opportunity to meet people who you would never meet unless you traveled solo.”

 

The pluses of traveling “alone” with Starr simply outweigh sitting at home and wishing for a companion to go along.  You choose the kind of tour you want to go on.  You pick the time of year.  You never have to negotiate your free time—you can rest when you want, eat what you want, and book something special.  You are more open to your surroundings and the people you meet. Then, at the end of the day, you get to relax in the peace and quiet of your room with full control over the TV remote!

 

Rick Steves, world traveler, guidebook author and TV host, suggests that when struggling with the idea to travel alone remember, “Your trip is a gift from you to you!”  I hope you plan to treat yourself this travel season with a Starr bus tour with or without a partner!

 

Happy travels,
Christine Durling
Starr Tour Director

Motorcoach Safety Update

Motorcoach Safety Update

70th anniversary seal2017 marks Starr’s 70th year in business. As a second generation owner of Starr Bus Charter & Tours as well as the Strategic Safety Chairman for the American Bus Association (ABA), it is with great interest that I look ahead to the new motorcoach safety regulations which are put into place every year by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). I am always interested in how new regulations will move our industry forward and how, we at ABA, influence these regulations.

Throughout my 46 years in the motorcoach industry, I have been witness to the implementation of many new regulations by the various leaders of the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve motorcoach safety. Traditionally, as presidential administrations change, new department heads are appointed. Elaine Chao has been selected by the new administration to lead the U.S. DOT as Secretary of Transportation. Ms. Chao served as Deputy Secretary of Transportation under George H.W. Bush, and I expect Secretary Chao will take a hard look at existing motorcoach safety regulations in addition to new proposals put forth. I anticipate her approach and determination will be effective and practical to ensure riding on a motorcoach will be as safe as possible, and even safer than in the past.

Starr will continue to be a leader in safety and regulatory compliance as we manage our own fleet of coaches and highly trained Drivers. Starr will continue its philosophy of providing the highest level of safety, not only by its lawful operations, but resulting from the many proprietary safety programs we have put in place to help ensure our riders a safe and comfortable travel experience. The safety awards earned by Starr are evidence of our safe driving commitment in addition to our commitment to you, and our quest for new and improved operational policies and practices.

Safety Rating SealOur entire team at Starr is dedicated to continuously advance and look for new ways to increase the level of safety in our industry. Starr is proud to introduce on its two newest coaches additional L.E.D. turning signal lights. The additional lights will serve to increase the visibility of our coach to other motorists and pedestrians when it is making turns or changing lanes. The additional coach lighting is a safety idea that we at Starr suggested to our motorcoach manufacturer, Prevost. An idea we envisioned, will be adopted not just by Prevost, but by the other motorcoach manufacturers to create safer vehicles for their motorcoach customers.

Alan Glickman
Alan Glickman, CEO

We thank you for your loyalty and for the faith and trust you have placed in us.

Warmest regards,
Alan Glickman, CEO Starr Transit

Safety Tips for Solo Travelers

Safety Tips for Solo Travelers

One of the comments that we often hear from passengers traveling alone on our tours is that they love to travel with us because they meet so many great people! In fact, we know of many different Starr travelers that met on tour years ago and continue to travel together to this day. While traveling by yourself may seem daunting at first, there are many perks to solo travel like the opportunity to meet and travel with great people, but still have a room all to yourself at the end of a long, exciting day.

Our Tour Directors and Drivers are dedicated to caring for the safety and well-being of our passengers. After all, safety is our top priority! That means that you’re in good hands with our safe and reliable staff, but we want to make sure that you are safe when you’re out exploring on your own too. As you know, in this day and age, anything can happen during travel (or at home!) so it is always best to be prepared!

Before you leave the hotel for an adventure out on the town, grab the hotel’s business card and tuck that in your wallet. This way, you’ll have the hotel’s contact information handy and, just in case something happens, emergency personnel will have another point of contact in order to help you. Make sure you ask your Tour Director and/or Driver for their cell phone number. This way you can reach them in case you can’t meet up at your scheduled time.

Consider purchasing accessories to hide your valuables and never take largemoneybelt-shutterstock_167811116-max600 amounts of cash out in open view of others. Split your cash and credit cards between your various pieces of luggage so that if your wallet is stolen you still have a backup. Some accessories that we recommend are an under-clothes money belt in place of a wallet (a simple one like this will do) and a wearable USB with copies of your all of your important documents like your passport (if traveling abroad) and photo ID.

If you have a smartphone, there are some great safety apps to download. “Watch Over Me” is really great one! Once you enter the app, you simply type in, “Watch over me while I…” and finish your sentence with anything like, “travel today,” and enter the time frame. The app then begins a countdown until you reach the end of your designated time frame. At that point, you let the app know that you are safe. If you do not confirm your safety by the time the counter hits zero then the app will contact your previously assigned “emergency contacts” with your GPS location. Isn’t it amazing what technology can do? Other apps to look into are “React Mobile,” and “Get Home Safe”. Apps vary on the features they include and price, so try googling “personal safety app” or “personal safety app reviews” to learn more and find one that is right for you. Also, make sure your phone is charged and carry your charger with you. There are small portable chargers that you can purchase as well to keep your phone, tablet, and everything else ready to go.

When it comes to cell phones, it’s also smart to keep in mind that some areas of travel may not have service. It’s best to check your roaming capabilities before you go (especially when traveling abroad) and, if necessary, plan to purchase a prepaid phone when you reach your destination. Another great idea is to give your itinerary to a friend or family member before you leave and check in throughout your trip.  Staying connected is key!

Wherever you are, as cliché as it may seem, be aware of your surroundings. Do not let yourself be easily distracted by beggars or children (especially overseas) as some can be very crafty. Distractions can be used to deflect your attention from what is really happening.

Though the likelihood of an unsafe experience is rare, staying smart and vigilant is key to a wonderful experience. The more you know, the more prepared you can be for your trip of a lifetime with Starr!

 

For more safety tips, check out the websites below.

10 Travel Safety Tips You Can’t Afford to Ignore
17 Safety Tips for Solo Travelers

What are your “go to” safety habits?

Safety First!

Safety First!

safety-rating-seal“Safety first” isn’t just an old saying that Mom used to say. It’s the first and most important priority at Starr! We pride ourselves on receiving the highest safety rating by the United States Department of Transportation and we aim to keep that every day.

More than just meeting federal safety requirements, Starr goes above and beyond to exceed them all. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Starr exceeds all requirements in driver training and ongoing evaluations, vehicle safety maintenance, and safety regulations and compliance.

Starr’s CEO, Alan Glickman, is one of the biggest reasons why our safety is top-notch. He serves as the Chairman of the Strategic Safety Committee for the American Bus Association (ABA). As the Chairman, Glickman focuses on developing, reviewing, and directing ABA’s strategic safety goals, standards, and initiatives.

Our motorcoach drivers, mechanics and operations department are held to the highest possible standards. You can always trust that they undergo the most rigorous training and are regularly re-trained to ensure that safety is first. Every Starr driver goes through a company-mandated Driver Training Program before they can even begin to carry passengers. Starr and its drivers are continually being recognized for safety and superior service.

No matter who is driving or which motorcoach you are in, when you travel with Starr you are always in safe hands! Safety always comes first at Starr and we strive to empower our customers to make informed decisions about their safety as well.

Consider these tips to “Charter Smarter” from The Group Travel Leader:
– Choose an operator that performs regular inspections of all its buses, completes required maintenance and repairs, and ensures that all safety equipment is present and working properly.

– Hires well-qualified, properly licensed drivers with good safety records and ensures that they are medically fit to drive and that they obey all safety laws and regulations.
– Check to make sure that your chosen motorcoach operator is authorized to operate. All commercial bus operators that carry passengers across state lines must have a USDOT number and be authorized by the
Federal Motorcoach Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

The FMCSA has free safety information and tools to help trip planners and passengers research bus safety. Visit FMCSA’s Look Before You Book website and take an active role in your safety.